5 Steps: Writing Your Chapter for a Successful Semester

Happy New Year and First Day of Classes!

Hopefully your break was a time of reconnecting with your favorite things, hobbies, and people, but also a time of processing the growth areas and challenges faced last semester that you were able to overcome. The great thing about winter break is that you are allowed enough time to disconnect and hopefully do the things that you really love to do, which may be sleeping, traveling, spending time with family, and/or working toward your goals.

In whatever way you were able to enjoy the break, we have a few suggestions that should help ease your transition into the new semester.

Of course there are a number of ways for you to define your own way to prepare, so our recommendations can be used as a great starting point.

Step 1: Mindful Meditation

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How often are you able to just stop and take a minute for yourself and gather your time, thoughts, and energies? Being more intentional with your mental and emotional wellness can serve as a solid foundation to contribute towards having a productive and successful semester. The purpose is to have a clear mind, full heart, and restored energy that would decrease any stress, improve concentration, and increase your overall emotional well-being.

Now let’s talk about how to do this in reference to the article “Meditation for College Students: Why You Should Do It & 3 Tips on How to Start.”

  1. Focus on your breathing.

One of the toughest parts of meditation can be completely focusing on the present moment and not getting distracted by your wandering mind. It has been noted that the easiest way to do this is to draw attention to your breathing by counting the number of breaths that you take. Then try again for one minute (increase the time as you would like!) without counting but continuing to focus on your breathing.

  1. Let thoughts come to mind- then let them go.

If you are finding it hard to concentrate and realize that you are thinking about stressful or unrelated things, don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s okay! Just be sure to recognize that you are thinking about unrelated matters, then let them go, and bring yourself back to the present moment.

  1. Don’t Give up!

Meditation may be frustrating at first and it is easy to give up when you feel as though you are not experiencing the benefits or that it is taking too long to learn. However, try and keep with it! Try meditating for shorter periods of time and build your way up to longer stretches. The benefits of meditation will reveal themselves in time, but only if you keep working at it.

Step 2: Reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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After taking some time to free your mind and relax, now it’s time to acknowledge the successes and what worked, and face the things that were difficult. What were the things you learned and experiences you gained that you were thankful for? What were at least three things that you did well or accomplished during the last semester? What were your biggest challenges and why were they difficult? If you could have done one thing differently what would it be and why?

Step 3: Develop your vision.

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After taking time to practice meditating and reflecting on the fall semester, now you should begin visualizing how you want to see yourself and where you want to see yourself. Do you want to see yourself more involved on campus, or less involved? Do you want to see yourself studying more or obtaining an internship? Do you want to see yourself as a more focused student, effective leader, and/or better friend, sibling, mentor or however you identify?

Next consider where you want to see yourself. By the end of the spring semester do you want to see yourself with a higher gpa? Do you want to see yourself studying abroad and exploring another country? Do you want to see yourself interning with your dream company? Do you want to see yourself closer to your personal goals and ambitions?

Really think about your vision, what you want for yourself, and why.

Step 4: Plan to execute.

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Now that you have developed a vision, consider what exactly it will take for you to get there and write it down. Want a higher gpa? Maybe your plan will consist of studying more, connecting with professors during office hours, and finding helpful academic resources and support online and on campus. Want to increase your overall wellness? Maybe your plan will consist of checking out the Healthy Campus site for great information and resources, and checking out fitness classes and clubs at Fike. Whatever your endeavors, pursue them wholeheartedly and write them down! Hold yourself accountable by making your plan visible to see, and identify quotes that could serve as your motivation and motto.

Again, there are many different ways for you to gear up for the semester but starting here with the previous steps will be a great start.

We all want to C U succeed so be great and GO TIGERS!

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